2426: Animal Songs

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Animal Songs
Dr. Fauci is not permitted to have a cat, because as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, his petting one would be considered giving aid and comfort to an allergen.
Title text: Dr. Fauci is not permitted to have a cat, because as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, his petting one would be considered giving aid and comfort to an allergen.


This comic is another in a series of comics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jokes about professionals not being so professional in private have been presented before, for example in 2401: Conjunction and 1463: Altitude.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who was largely responsible for informing the public in the United States on how to avoid spreading SARS-CoV-2 in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was recently awarded a one million dollar prize for his recent work. This may be the press conference he is going to. The comic shows him singing a silly made-up song to his pet fish as he goes about his daily routine - a counterintuitively childlike (albeit delightful and relatable) habit for an authority figure who normally presents himself to the public in a professional and prosaic "grown-up" manner. Incidentally, this characterization of Dr. Fauci doesn't seem to be far from the truth: Fauci's daughter Jenny is quoted in the Washington Post as saying of her father: "He's a goofball[...] He works hard and he does his thing, but he comes home and he's singing opera in the kitchen and dancing around."

In 231: Cat Proximity, it's presented as 'normal' for people to make inane statements and use baby talk near cats, but here, Dr. Fauci is singing to his fish. The title text explains that, as he is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, he is forbidden from owning a pet cat, because petting the cat would be "giving aid and comfort" to an allergen, which is (a reference to) one definition of treason under the United States Constitution. The “allergen” refers to the hypothetical cat—some people are allergic to cats.


[A man with a bit of hair, later shown to represent Dr. Fauci, is putting on a white lab coat as he walks past his fish tank. The tank, on a small table, has one small fish in it, looking at him. Inside the tank there is also a seaweed-like plant and a small castle and an even smaller pyramid. Seven music notes, 4 double and 3 single notes, are scattered about Fauci's speech which is written with lower case letters (normal capitalization) as opposed to normal xkcd text with all small caps.]
Dr. Fauci: ♫ Putting on my doctor coat
[Dr. Fauci is buttoning the coat. He is now standing to the right of the fish tank. The fish has turned towards him and has moved to the end of the tank near him. He still sings with the same letter type and six music notes, 3 double and 3 single notes, are scattered around the text.]
Dr. Fauci: ♫ It's the coat I wear
[Dr. Fauci is back to the left of the fish tank, looking at himself in a mirror, and touching his face. There is a small shelf with three items on the wall beneath the mirror. The fish has swam back to its original position turned towards him. He is still singing, with one double and one triple note on either side of his lyrics. An off-panel voice addresses him from the right, and he replies. These exchanges are written in normal xkcd small caps style.]
Dr. Fauci: ♫ so they know how good a doctor I am
Off-panel voice: Dr. Fauci? The press conference is in five.
Dr. Fauci: Be right there!
[Caption below the panel:]
It's nice to think about how serious and important people probably also absentmindedly sing made-up songs to pets.

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Hi, I had a question about explain xkcd. On incomplete tags for the explanation, they most often say This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: created by ______ please mention here... On this comic, it says created by Dr Fauci in private. Or the MRNA one, thermal exhaust port. Who creates these names? Do people just make them up, or is there something else going on? RingTailedLemur (talk) 02:11, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Yep, you can add whatever ____ you want in there 02:30, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Yes, and Yes No, no, of course there's nothing diabolical going on behind the scenes.
(Check the progressive changes in the edit history for each comic page. It gets created/populated by the resident Bot, including the default Incomplete bit, and then (it has become customary) someone has a good idea for a topical rewording that they think is rather clever. And sometimes further people think they can be even cleverer, while editing or as sole purpose for an edit.)
...aaaand, of course I get edit-conflicted, but I thought this reply was clever enough to add anyway, so why not..? 02:38, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
Okay, thanks! I looked at the edit thingy and I saw it just says A BOT. RingTailedLemur (talk) 03:23, 18 February 2021 (UTC)
My all time favorite is the one I added on 2150: XKeyboarCD: “Created by a LEOPARD USING AN XKEYBOARCD” 03:50, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

Is it known whether Dr. Fauci owns a cat?--Pere prlpz (talk) 08:57, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

I just did a quick image search and didn't find a single picture of Dr. Fauci wearing a lab coat during a press conference. Maybe we should mention that in the explanation. Bischoff (talk) 09:41, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

This comic uses lowercase text which makes it feel like some of the really old comics. 23:22, 18 February 2021 (UTC)

I think it's intended to be sotto voce. Like, normally in text-format communications, switching to AllCaps can be taken as SHOUTING! Which is an interesting shift. But clearly he's singing 'to' his fish alone without any reason to broadcast the fact, and he only deliberately wishes his normally spoken words (in his response to the call) to be heard by anyone else. 00:50, 19 February 2021 (UTC)
Lowercase glyphs for the XKCD font, anyone?

"government medical science guy[citation needed]" is hilarious, please keep it. --Youforgotthisthing (talk) 20:05, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

"The comic shows him singing a made-up song to his pet fish in order to memorise his daily routine" … except that I don't find any indication that it's to help him memorize his daily routine. I considered it just like talking to our other pets (or infants), but with a tune applied. Talking gently, humming, singing, etc. is frequently used when working with animals or infants to keep them calm and reassured. But for this case, I think it is most likely to a form of self-talk, to get him mentally prepared to face the crowd. (or maybe singing is just something he likes to do, like all those people we see in musicals) 22:23, 19 February 2021 (UTC)

Interesting how wear and there rhyme despite "there" not really being part of the song. bubblegum-talk|contribs 23:49, 20 February 2021 (UTC)

Does anyone know why this is incomplete?[edit]

Without information, nobody knows which part needs fixing. If anyone knows why this is incomplete, please post the reason here. If nobody can provide a satisfactory answer, maybe we should consider removing the incomplete tag.--Quillathe Siannodel (talk) 14:27, 25 March 2021 (UTC) EDIT: I am posting this exact same text on other comics of questionable incompleteness. It's not spamming, it's a conscious attempt to clean this category up made by a real live human.--Quillathe Siannodel (talk) 14:35, 25 March 2021 (UTC)